Freedom: The right to speak or act without restriction, interference, or fear, or; a country’s right to rule itself, without interference from, or domination by, another country or power, or; the state of being unaffected by, or not subject to, something unpleasant or unwanted.

Many, I am sad to say, take this word for granted and suppress its central meaning, subjugating it to surmise their own selfish, carnal liberties afforded to them by this nation and those who have, and continue to, PROTECT it. I am surrounded by heroes every day, men and women who have sacrificed much, even to the point of physical and mental detriment, to avert those who would, and currently seek to see this last bastion of freedom destroyed. From WWII veterans to OIF and OEF soldiers, I see my fellow Veterans daily, with a less than brilliant gleam in their eye, and I know why.

They are often assailed for their service to this nation seen as bullying and warring by what I call moral hypocrites, who themselves are clueless as to what it actually takes to maintain this great nation’s sovereignty. Though I have never experienced battle, I am nonetheless proud to have served, and I continue to serve my nation as a Police Officer for the Alaska VA Healthcare System and Anchorage Regional Office. I am honored to serve those who gave much, who lick their wounds both physical and mental, sustained in their selfless fight for freedom.

I may be preaching to the choir when I say this, but I feel it bears conveying, and that is; freedom is not free.

Freedom Is Not Free

We all enjoy our freedom every day
And a great many take it for granted,
As a combat veteran tries to pray;
For their soul undoubtedly supplanted.

Picture all the nightmares you’ve ever had
Including the sweat and heart pounding fear,
Imagine this slowly driving you mad;
As loved ones watch your spirit disappear.

The point I am making is, have a heart
For those who sacrificed for freedom’s sake,
Please don’t ostracize or set them apart;
For the harsh decisions they had to make.

And although with war you may not agree,
Remember my friend, that freedom’s not free.

Michael J. Donnelly is an Army Veteran of more than 15 years who continues to serve as a police officer for the VA health care system in Anchorage, Alaska.

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Published on Dec. 2, 2010

Estimated reading time is 2 min.

Views to date: 184


  1. Jalica December 7, 2010 at 7:27 am

    When You speak of Freedom, I have never known freedom in the land of white lies….As a member of the armed forces while being placed in the “black box for standing up against the indignant men and women” who call themselves righteous has never been questioned by the same white eyes who allow them to kill our family Freedom is when you stop persecuting me for standing up to YOU! Freedom is when a veteran sends you paperwork and you don’t mis- represent the truth, freedom is when veterans stand toe to toe with enemies on the homefront who dismiss our [ur[ose for living, when you stop persecuting with facts and figures to win your side of the coin….I served and as the widow I have been married to one man, and never to another and you deny me don-service compensation for another piece of white lie….Anger, You have walked on me, my family indoctrinated by your slavery and injustice…. Freedom is when You listen and stop dictating what is truth, not because you sit on your throwns…

    • brenda hayes December 7, 2010 at 6:22 pm


      …and I thought I was angry!


  2. Ron O. December 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    To Mike Donelly,
    Mike I am a retired VA Police Officer going out on Disability in Sept. of 99.
    I spent 10 years as a VA cop when they wouldn’t allow us to be armed until one of the docs got killed in Missisippi. That tells you where the Administrative Branch of the VA is coming from, at the time we had 8 PO’s killed in the line of duty but these Administrators did not think WE WERE
    ARMING. I am pissed off and make no mistake because of the crap I have to
    continue to endure in regards to collecting on a claim. If I were in charge I would make sure that EVERY ADMINISTRATOR would be a veteran, not someone’s
    son-in-law or a political hack. Down here in Florida my VA Hospital Director
    (Gainesville) NEVER served in uniform and in my opinion is a MORON, the guy
    that’s in charge of VISN 8 who used to be my Associate Director when I was on
    the job also did NOT serve, our Director where I worked DID NOT SERVE and the beat goes on. These folks make decisions that affect ALL of us and THEY DID
    NOT SERVE therefore THEY DON’T HAVE A CLUE!!! While they were in College we
    average, blue collar kids served in the military. I for one am from the Vietnam era. Make no mistake I am NOT criticizing VA Medical Care because as
    we know its the best in the Country. The VA Medical Staff SAVED my life, but, gimme a break, put people in positions of authority who know what it is like to be a VETERAN. What is the most galling is that these “wanna be’s”
    make anywhere between $165-185 a year and then if the VA deems they are doing
    a good job, by saving money, for instance they wind up with BONUSES of $30-40K
    on top of the big salaries. I know I never got a BONUS being a VA cop, have you?? Its my opinion that only reason these buffoons are in the VA is that they could NEVER make it on the outside. On the outside you have to PRODUCE
    not just go to do nothing meetings, you have to deliver and these folks don’t know how to do that.
    Now for my latest gripe; I filed a claim in May of this year and on 11/4 I was contacted via telephone by a wonderful GS-11 employee who told me that my
    claim was at the DECISION stage and that I should hear on wether they would
    just approve my claim or set up a comp and pen hearing. Well here we are one
    month later and still NO news and when I called the 800 number I am told that this could take up to another 3-6 months for them to make a determination, well isn’t that swell?? When these bureaucrats were facing angry and teed off vets like who protected them?? Yep, you got it, me and my brothers. Had I have known that this crap would go on in my retirement I would have let these teed off veterans bounce these bureaucrats off the wall a couple of times in order to get there attention. Our President says he wants to fast
    track the claims process, oh well, then someone ought to tell that to the
    employees who review claims, ya think??
    Stay safe brother and always wear your vest.
    Ron O. VA Police (Ret.)

    • Michael J. Donnelly December 9, 2010 at 3:00 am

      I will wear my vest, and I will be careful.

      It sounds as though you are being subjected to a lot of bureaucratic BS that’s for sure. I know ‘the system’ can be slow, but what you are going through sounds very aggravating to say the least. I feel for ya. The only advice I have is; stay vigilant, continuously follow-up and maybe even write your congressman and/or senator. Also, I know that many VA directors have an ‘open door policy’ for what it’s worth.

      Yes, it is a very different VA police force today and my station was perhaps the last to become armed back in 05′ so I can relate. I was contract security for the VA here in Anchorage for several years before they transitioned to Fed police. I am thankful to have this job and for the ability to yet serve my country and the brave veterans how have served.


      Michael J. Donnelly.

  3. Michael J. Donnelly December 4, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Muchas gracias por la lectura, Claudio.

    Much thanks for reading, Claudio.

  4. Claudio Alpaca December 4, 2010 at 5:15 am

    Define freedom is not easy, as freedom, ours freedom, end where freedom of others start.
    Freedom is respect of laws, a substantial respect and this require:
    -love for others,
    -resilience, that is not only for military world,
    Freedom is not act whithout any control, depriving other peoples of its freedom, as this is a arbitrary comportment that is not feedom but its contrary.
    Freedom, a traguard and not a point of depart.

    Thanks to alls that combat and act or have defended at any level freedom.

    A big thanks for all veterans

    Pieve di Teco, 4.12.2010 Claudio Alpaca

  5. Eduardo Rey Fernandez December 3, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Hipocritas morales : no dejan sus coches ni sus casas abiertas , se quejan de lla falta de policia en los momentos de conflicto , son capaces de destruir un autobus publico o una plaza publica por la Libertad , duermen cada dia en territorio pacifico : Gracias a los que luchan por la Libertad.God Save America.

    • Michael J. Donnelly December 4, 2010 at 8:52 am


  6. Patrick Welch December 3, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Well said Michael. I am a retired Marine Vietnam Veteran and here is what I end every speech with;

    Freedom is not Free, because it has bought and paid for with the sweat, tears, blood and lives of over 48 million Americans who have served this nation since 1775.

    Semper Fi

    • Michael J. Donnelly December 4, 2010 at 8:58 am

      I thank you for your service sir and I appreciate you taking the time to read my words.

    • Joel W. Griffin December 15, 2010 at 4:06 pm

      Michael I served our country for over 20 years in the United States Navy Submarine fleet and I just wanted to let you know that you know what you are talking about. It’s like you hit the nail right on the head and I just wish others thought the same way you do. You take care Michael and have a great life from here on.

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